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A Means to an End


The final section of Chapter 6 examines what Kant considered an imperative. For many of us it may be easier to consider it part of our morals.

Most of us have likely complained about others we see as “users”. They use people as a means to get what they want. They do so because they do not view people as inherently worthwhile, having value independent of what we want of them, and that this respect must always be the priority.

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other,
never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.
-Immanuel Kant

Kant believed that as conscious, rational, intelligent, sentient human beings each individual is an end, a final product of worthiness that transcends simple usefulness to another. In weeks to come, we will see how this one imperative underpins so many other ethical and practical applications to life.

Question your ethical view of others.

Include the following aspects in the assignment:

 Keep a diary for three days. This does not need to be a formal diary, but you should carry it with you to make notes

 List the people you interact with during the three days

 Consider which, if any, you used as a means to further your end, to get what you wanted

 Consider those who you were careful to ensure were respected as individuals with intrinsic worth

 Reflect on your list. Were you surprised? Saddened? Relieved?

 Share your thoughts. Did the exercise make you more aware of how you use others?

 There is no right or wrong answer here, you will be graded on the depth of your reflection

 This is not a formal paper; however, use proper grammar, sentence structure, and spelling at all times. Use your own words. Copying and pasting is not allowed.

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